DCeased: Dead Planet #3

DCeased: Dead Planet #3 Review

DCeased: Dead Planet #3

DCeased: Dead Planet has been an enjoyable sequel to the original event by Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine. The time jump from the end of the original DCeased events to Dead Planet has been a refreshing change of pace. This time jump has opened up the opportunity to explore the cast of characters in the DC Universe in new and fascinating ways. DCeased: Dead Planet #2 ended with a big cliffhanger as our heroes suffered major losses with several magic users from Shadowpact fought an Anti-Living Plastic Man. What will happen now that this happened? Let’s find out with DCeased: Dead Planet #3.

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Trevor Hairsine

Inker: Gigi Baldassini

Colorist: Rain Beredo

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Zatanna wakes up with Detective Chimp, John Constantine, and Swamp around her. Detective Chimp reveals that Blue Devil save Zatanna before being killed by Anti-Living Plastic Man, who also killed Ragman.

Hearing this Zatanna immediatel goes back into action and uses a spell to light Anti-Living Plastic Man on fire.

After the flames consume Anti-Living Plastic Man the remaining Shadowpact members recover what remains of Blue Devil and Ragman.

Suddenly the people inside the fortress start firing at Shadowpact. Everyone but Swamp Thing takes cover. All the gunfire hits the Anti-Living behind Shadowpact.

Penguin suddenly appears to be one of the people in the fortress commanding the troops inside.

Over at the Gotham Jungle, Damian Wayne reunites with Jim Gordon. Rather than shaking hands Damian hugs Jim, who is surprised given that Bruce Wayne wasn’t a hugger. Damian and Jim joke about how Bruce’s greatest fear was intimacy.

Doctor Fate appears and tells Damian that Superman (Jonathan Kent) healing has finished.

Inside the Tower of Fate, Krypto and Mary Marvel welcome Jonathan back. Mary Marvel tells Jonathan how he was stabbed by a kryptonite sword but they were able to patch him up. Jonathan thanks Mary Marvel for helping him.

Back in Australia, Maxwell Lord and Simon Stagg give Shadowpact a tour of the bunker they created, including how everyone there has a job.

Jason Blood appears and pulls Constantine to the side. Jason Blood transforms into the Demon Etrigan. Etrigan reveals that all of the souls of the Anti-Living are stuck inside their bodies. Etrigan goes on to say that Trigon is pissed about this and is getting ready to wipe out the world in order to claim the souls that belong to him. Constantine and Etrigan suddenly hear gunfire.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3
Shadowpact mourn Blue Devil and Ragman’s deaths in DCeased: Dead Planet #3. Click for full page view.

They find Swamp Thing fighting some soldiers. Zatanna reveals that Swamp Thing discovered that the Floronic Man has been imprisoned and tortured to produce the Green for the bunker. Constantine tries to calm Swamp Thing down. Swamp Thing doesn’t listen and kills Maxwell Lord.

Penguin orders Professor Ivo to execute their plan. An army of Amazos suddenly appear and immediately starts attacking Shadowpact. Being outnumbered Shadowpact decide to teleport back to the Gotham Jungle.

Penguin, Stagg, and Professor Ivo go make preparations to complete their Amazo army so they can move on to the next phase of their plans.

The next day, inside the Gotham Jungle, everyone asks Cyborg if he has found a way to get the cure from his body. Cyborg says he hasn’t been able to find it yet. Batman mentions that they just have to find the opposite in the “Life Equation.” Detective Chimp says that the New Gods are likely their ticket to finding the “Life Equation.”

Constantine speaks up and says he knows someone that can help. He then asks to borrow Wonder Woman’s (Cassandra Sandsmark) Lasso of Truth and for Detective Chimp to come with him. Superman wonders if he should go but Constantine says to stay still as he’ll be needed for the next phase of the plan.

A little later Constantine and Detective Chimp teleport to a cabin in a remote area. There they find a grizzled Mister Miracle, who was able to escape from being killed by horde but unable to save Big Barda (see our review of DCeased: A Good Day To Die for full details). Mister Miracle does not want to hear about any ideas Constantine has. Constantine says that he is telling the truth when he says that he has a way to save the world.

Constantine gives Mister Miracle the Lasso of Truth to use on him. Wrapped with the Lasso of Truth, Constantine tells Mister Miracle they can save Big Barda and everyone else. Constantine then says that they need Mister Miracle’s help in stealing from the throne of a God. End of issue.

The Good: Timing is everything. Especially for a big event comic book there is a set number of issues to tell the full story. Tom Taylor understands this and slowed things down to give our heroes a chance to figure out their next move with DCeased: Dead Planet #3.

One of the things that stood out after reading DCeased: Dead Planet #3 is how this version of the DC Universe comes across as a living and breathing universe. Even if we don’t have all the details of what happened during the years between the original DCeased and Dead Planet, Taylor gets across that a lot happened. The survivors on Earth and those who left to find a new home on Earth-2 all were actively working on staying alive.

Taylor shows this as we see how Maxwell Lord, Simon Stagg, Penguin, and Professor Ivo pulled their resources together to create a bunker for them and survivors to live in. What worked particularly well with this set-up was not trying to suddenly make these characters altruistic just because Earth went to crap. Rather than creating all these bunkers to keep people safe it is clear that Maxwell Lord, Penguin, Stagg and Professor Ivo teamed up to maintain their level of power. They just had to adjust their methods to do so.

Keeping them in this villainous mode made the moment that Swamp Man discovered how the Floronic Man was being used and tortured a bigger deal. The rage in Swamp Man’s attack was came across as justified. Which helped make how Maxwell Lord was killed by Swamp Man not shocking but deserved for someone who was really only looking out for himself.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3
Constantine approaches Mister Miracle with the biggest heist job ever in DCeased: Dead Planet #3. Click for full page view.

The situation in Australia taking such a turn helped push the button on revealing one of the big sub-plots of DCeased: Dead Planet as we learned about the Amazo army that Penguin and Professor Ivo have been working on. This is a major development that could shift the tide of the entire Anti-Life Equation Virus conflict for better or worse. Because while they are clearly doing this to protect themselves the Amazo army could actually help our heroes since the cure that Cyborg has discovered seems to be related to his techno-organic body. The Amazos complex construction could be a key in how the cure is found.

The other big sub-plot that was set-up in this trip to Australia was the discovery that Trigon is moments away from invading Earth. Learning that Trigon and Hell are pissed that they can’t claim the souls stuck in the bodies of the Anti-Living adds a sense of urgency to the mission to find a cure. With there numbers already depleted having to take someone on the level of Trigon is the last thing they need.

While those sub-plots were established Taylor made sure to keep the focus of the story on the crisis that the Anti-Life Equation Virus brought on. There is a strong sense that this cure that Cyborg discovered is everyone’s last shot to save everyone.

Constantine stepping up to with a plan on how to get the possible Life Equation from the New Gods was a welcome development. We’ve seen how easy it was for Constantine to be the doom and gloom guy in this situation. Which shows how serious things are as he was the first to learn about the Trigon threat from Jason Blood.

It also showed Taylor’s long-term vision for the direction of the DCeased story that he used the events of A Good Day To Die to provide backstory for Mister Miracle. At the end of A Good Day To Die it appeared as though Mister Miracle died fighting the Anti-Living alongside Big Barda. To learn that he somehow escaped that situation but was unable to save Big Barda gets you to immediately understand why Mister Miracle is in the disheveled state he is in. You get that he has likely been haunted by Big Barda being turned into an Anti-Living every day since he escaped.

All of this adds to how there is this great sense of urgency in discovering the cure. Because for all of the survivors there is a personal stake to this crisis. Everyone lost a loved one to the Anti-Life Equation Virus. So they are all desperate to find a cure. Which does put into question how the New Gods will react to the heroes on Earth suddenly asking for help. Since they haven’t already helped the New Gods may not be keen on helping find the Life Equation that could be the cure for all of this.

In the middle of all this there were also a lot of great character moments in DCeased: Dead Planet #3. The one that stood out to me most was Damian Wayne and Jim Gordon’s reunion. Taylor did an excellent job showing how the DCeased crisis did impact Damian as we see how he values life much more. Unlike his dad, Damian has taken the events of DCeased as an eye opening experience to not repress his emotions. This made the way Damian and Jim joke about how different the former is from Bruce be much more effective and touching.

The opening of DCeased: Dead Planet #3 also did an effective job at showing the toll that it takes on the surviving characters when they lose someone. Zatanna angrily taking out Anti-Living Plastic Man after learning how Blue Devil used the final moments of his life to save her was impactful. It made the mourning of Blue Devil and Ragman’s sacrifice hit even harder. Both of them died being true heroes even when their end was completely unexpected. How Taylor is able to perfectly capture that emotion that is felt when something big like that happens is what has made DCeased so special.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3
Damian Wayne and Jim Gordon share an emotional reunion in DCeased: Dead Planet #3. Click for full page view.

Not enough can be said to what Trevor Hairsine adds to the story. Hairsine’s artwork just gets better with each issue of DCeased he draws. The attack Zatanna’s unleashed on Anti-Living Plastic Man showed a raw emotion in that moment that Zatanna had that showed the impact Blue Devil’s sacrifice had. Similarly, the rage in Swamp Thing’s attack inside the bunker that lead to him killing Maxwell Lord was equally impactful.

At the same time, Hairsine also delivered in the more intimate moments. Superman’s recovery is a good example of that as we see how happy Mary Marvel and Krypto are with him fully healed. Hairsine also hits a great, positive tone to the reunion with Damian and Jim that showed a level of comfort that was a refreshing break from all the dark moments we got in DCeased: Dead Planet #3.

The Bad: Nothing.

Overall:  Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine once again knock it out of the park with DCeased: Dead Planet #3. Even as they slow the story down there are plenty of things that they develop that uses all of the DCeased comics before this as backstory for why things are happening. That long-term vision made the character moments we get create greater anticipation for what happens next.

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